Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Sparkling Deck

by Patricia Cates

From where I was sitting that lazy August day, it looked as if fairy dust had been sprinkled all over the deck. The beige paint beneath my lounge chair seemed to be glimmering in the dappled light of a fading sun. At first I assumed it was caused by the way the light was playing on the paint itself, and that the glitter effect was the result of sunlight on some odd peeling paint flecks. Upon closer inspection I realized that there were no sparkles found anywhere else. The phenomenon seemed to be occurring solely under the shade of an old tree growing over the side of our very weathered deck. Perhaps the magical shine had nothing to do with the paint, and everything to do with the tree.
I further theorized that the entire south end, directly beneath this deciduous behemoth of sorts, had been bathed in a wash of some sort of sap. It seemed to be coating the leaves as well. I bent down to swab the deck with a finger to see if I could get some of it on my hands. Sure enough there was a thin, sheer, sticky film. The sparkles transferred easily to my hands. 
I so wanted my kids to see this, but they weren’t there at the moment. (Plus I really needed some eye witnesses to attest that there were REALLY PRETTY SPARKLES on our old deck.) They were down at the beach collecting shells and not due back for an hour. They’d be late if anything. I had only stayed behind to start making dinner. We were leaving at zero dark thirty, and that meant the shadows would no longer be dancing. Magic gone.
I ran and grabbed my iPhone and tried taking photos from numerous angles, but it just wouldn’t translate from eye to screen. No matter what position, or how much I zoomed, the image wouldn’t cooperate. There wasn’t enough light. You truly had to be there. I was so frustrated. I wanted to share the moment with my family, and show them the beauty I had found. If you have ever caught a glimpse of a blanket of snow, when light hits the crystals in just the right way, you surely know of the sparkle effect of which I speak.
I sat back down and decided to just enjoy the solitude and observe. There was a slight breeze and perfect temps. Birds were singing in the trees. (No kidding.) I was just about in a state of bliss when this occurrence got me to thinking about perspective. From another’s view, one sitting here could maybe become angered by the tree sap/sparkles. This could honestly be construed as somewhat of a mess. I sadly wondered if its magic could be denied in an instant, just like that. So with that thought, poof, my wonderful chair lounging spell was broken.
I soon found myself thinking about some imagined, stressed-out homeowner, cussing and complaining about the sticky sap everywhere. For him the tree might not be seen as beneficial for its contribution of fairy dust, but instead a nuisance. For now there would be more sanding to do, an added layer of work. Maybe the tree would have to come out, in order to prevent future unwanted clean-up and costly deck re-staining woes.
Then another type of person entirely came to mind. One who could be so hurried, that they might walk out onto that very same piece of deck, and never take a minute to sit down. That person would miss the magic all together. Sadly, most days that describes me. There’s always something to be done.  On this day I was merely taking a breather from the task at hand…food prep and the wiping down of countertops. I pondered a little further and realized that maybe this moment was just for me and me alone. Perhaps I needed to realize that downtime on a weekend getaway is actually needed and should occur. Most vacations I tend to spend worried about everybody else’s needs instead of decompressing…which is the purpose of getting away.  
The natural fact is…had there not been any light coming through the branches that afternoon, I would have never been able to experience that brief illusion of fairy dust. So there’s something to be said for timing. I just happened to be there at exactly the right time and place. The perspective from the chair I was seated in was of equal importance. It was all in the angle. Just lucky, I guess. Lucky to get me some rare, fresh, sappy sparkling perspective.
So the advice I have garnered from a seated position is this; enjoy your down time. Take whatever time you need to unwind, unplug and chill. Live in the moment. You just might find some magic lying right at your feet. And if you do…don’t get angry. It doesn’t always come in the form we wish.

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